Bourbon and Sense

...because with Bourbon comes good Sense

December Bourbon (Two) and this week's Talking Sense.

Town Branch and McFarlane's Reserve

McFarlane's Reserve Whiskey

MR Aroma: Nothing to distinguish it from all the other bourbons I've tried. TB Aroma: Better, sweet, like sniffing candy;

MR Taste: Harsh, obviously made for mixing with something very sweet - like Coca Cola!. TB Taste: Better, sweet like licking candy;

TB & MR Appearance: Nice amber color.';

MR Finish: McFarlane\'s Reserve neat the finish is unpleasant. Mixed, the finish is okay. TB Finish: smooth at first then alcohol bites;

MR Story of: Nothing on the website except confirmation that this whiskey is meant for cocktails. The bottle says aged 3 years. TB Story: Produced in Lexington, Kentucky.

Talking Sense


I started watching NewsNation at the new year. It has been on a while, but I really noticed its news-only philosophy very recently. That was refreshing to see and hear. By news only I mean that I didn’t hear any opinions being given, no panels bashing Trump or Biden, no judgements made, no slanting right or left, just the facts. I think I heard an advertisement from the channel while watching a different channel and they explained that providing information only was their aim. I like that. Let the viewer decide how to interpret the information: good or bad, for or against, right or left.

I looked for them on Google to see if I could determine who was behind this new channel. The first search result was Fox Nation. I was shocked and thought Fox was trying to reel in suckers like me before switching over to their regular format. The site even said their objective was unbiased news. Fortunately, I scrolled down and found what I was truly searching for: NewsNation. Searching through the correct site, I learned that the channel is owned and operated by Nextstar. Nextstar Media Group is based in Irving Texas and is the largest local broadcast television group in the United States. That seems fairly specific (local, broadcast, television) and so I don’t know how to translate that. I guess we’ll have to keep watching to see if they maintain their integrity.

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More Talking Sense


I’m reading Michael Lewis’s latest book entitled The Premonition. It is about the behind-the-scenes characters in the Covid Pandemic who started planning back in the 90’s for a situation like this. It is a scary read because Mr. Lewis doesn’t give a good impression of the CDC who are supposed to be advising the World on how to cope with a pandemic. The book is interesting because you learn a lot of grunt-level operations about our government (and it doesn’t sound too good either). What is interesting to me is that the early modeling for viral infections in general showed that closing schools was one of the top strategies for combatting a pandemic - that seems to have been thrown out the window. I haven’t finished the book (published in 2021) so I wonder why this strategy changed. It seems commonsense.

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Appreciating Bourbon

I’m sure the reader has noticed some fairly negative tasting comments on the past few bourbon reviews. My impression of bourbon became worse after I recently tried some Irish Whiskey while in Galway, Ireland. Redbreast 12 Year was as smooth as honey, no harshness to it, vanilla cream taste, subtle aroma of candy. Perhaps it is not fair to judge a recent American product like bourbon against a mature product like Irish Whiskey. We were in cozy chairs by a fire, surrounded by the joys of Christmas – so that might have affected my judgement. What’s going on here??

One difference is the aging. The Redbreast 12 Year is aged 12 years as compared to bourbon which is normally 4 years in barrels. Then there is the base: corn for bourbon versus malted/unmalted barley for Redbreast Whiskeys. Triple distilled in a copper pot; the liquid is matured for 12 years in Sherry casks (other Redbreast brands mature in bourbon oak casks also). I’m certain the bourbon bottlers can weave a wonderful story for their product, but the difference is acute and my money is on the aging.

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Appreciating Bourbon 2

One New Year’s resolution I am making is to learn how to taste bourbon with more finesse and savoir-faire. My friend who helps me with the bourbon reviews is much better than I am – I’m sure you noticed the difference in descriptions. He has culinary training and I think that helps him to discern those vanilla notes, cinnamon undertones, coffee finish or maybe the turpentine. Another resolution is to provide a page for readers to vote on their favorite bourbon from the list of bourbons we have reviewed. Almost there but trouble with getting the voting right (can you imagine?). Another resolution is to get some conversation going among the group of you who view the site each month. We’d love to hear your take on the bourbons we taste or the opinions I write.

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